Last year I shared my top 100 albums and EPs of 2020. This year I thought I’d try and break that list down a little and share my top albums and EPs for each quarter of 2021. So here’s my top 10 album for January-March 2021. You can find my full list of 2021 new releases here.
10. Fight Deck – Signs of Life
I love the alt-rock vibes I get from this album. Right up until a song makes turn that makes me cringe. Overall I find the b-side of this album to be it’s greatest strength, but it’ll probably the first album on this to be replaced by something else as 2021 continues.
9. They Came Running – Movement 2: Dream EP
The second part in a series of four, Movement 2: Dream does what Movement 1: Dawn couldn’t and draws me in with the first song and keeps listening. With such different reactions to the two movements I’m really not sure what I should expect from 3 and 4 but at least this EP can stand on it’s own.
8. Remedy Drive – Imago Amor
I really enjoyed Remedy Drive’s 2008 major label debut Daylight Is Coming but haven’t really gotten into any of their albums since. Imago Amor changes that. This album feels like a throwback to their early roots.
7. Mike Donehey – A Father & Two Sons EP
This EP would have been easy one for me to skip over after the former Tenth Avenue North vocalist failed to catch my attention with his first EP this year, Work of Art. With A Father & Two Sons though Donehey has once again regained my attention though with an EP based on the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Now I’m curious to see what his forthcoming album is going to sound like.
6. Yours for Mine – Yours for Mine: How Dark the Night
This album isn’t entirely my taste, leaning a little on the heavier side of what I prefer. But just because I don’t personally care for every song on this album doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deserve it’s spot on this list. It’s defiantly some of the best music to come out of 2021.
5. Yaz Williams – Something Like A Secret
This one is a stunning folk album. The vocals and instrumentation are beautiful throughout. It’s one of 2021 best hidden gems. “Nowhere Else” is the standout highlight.
4. Jon Foreman – Departures
I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like this album. Despite Jon Foreman possibly being my all-time favorite musician I wasn’t crazy about The Wonderlands and the early singes from Departures had me thinking this album might be the same. But having heard the full album now I can say that I quite enjoyed it.
3. Last Chance Marie – This Is Just Sound
This album is probably the biggest surprise of 2021 for me so far. I’d never heard of them until I saw post about them on the IVM Facebook group. This album would fit perfectly alongside albums in the IVM Records catalog.
2. ’68 – Give One Take One
Honestly I had this albums slated for the #1 spot on this list prior to it’s release. But now that it’s out and I’ve had a few weeks to listen to it on repeat I just don’t think it’s AOTY contender I was hoping it would be. It’s still a strong album though and worthy of being second on my list.
1. The Arcadian Wild – Principium EP
With this EP being a series of singles released over the past year I knew it was going to be an AOTY (EPoTY?) contender from the get-go. Now that it’s been released as complete EP I can finally give it the recognition it deserves by placing at the top of my list.
Honorable Mentions: 2 Minute Minor, Andy Squyres, Awaken, Benjamin Krogh, Chad Jarnagin, Charlie Peacock, Chase Tremaine, Civilized Creature, Fallstar, Five Iron Frenzy, Forrester, Jaisua, John Wickham, JUDAH., The Midnight Wedding, Nathan Kitner, Phil Joel, Rachel Honza, and Young Oceans.